Status: 27/04/2022 14:57
Tennis coaches often sit in a draft seat on the WTA Tour – including Torben Beltz with star shot Emma Raducanu. A prominent representative of the scene considers this trend questionable.
Tennis player Emma Raducanu with her coach Torben Beltz
Emma Raducanu is the most exciting talent in international women’s tennis. With its sensational US Open title as an 18-year-old qualifier, the British took hearts by storm in September 2021. Their meteoric rise, their aggressive play and a touch of glamor combined led to the highest expectations for a glorious career.
But the question of how she would cope with her new role was also intriguing. Just 12 days after winning the title, Raducanu made a surprising decision to part ways with coach Andrew Richardson. A few weeks later, she signed Torben Beltz from Germany, who had previously cared for Angelique Kerber in three episodes for twelve years.
Beltz led Kerber to two Grand Slam titles
Raducanu gave British media their new situation on the WTA tour as the reason. “I feel like at this stage of my career, where I’re playing against the best players in the world, I really need someone who has a high level of WTA Tour experience.”
Beltz has this experience in abundance. He led Kerber to two Grand Slam titles in 2016 and also coached Croatian Donna Vekic quite successfully for two and a half years.
Difficult staff decisions in the early years
But the separation from Richardson, with whom she had worked since she was 11, was harsh, Raducanu said. “It’s hard to have such a conversation with everyone.”
It is one of the great challenges of the tennis industry to make such serious decisions as a young adult. They hire and fire trainers, some of whom are many years older. It is unclear at Raducanu how much influence parents and management had. But the sporting consequences are ultimately borne by the player.
Wilander and Shriver are skeptical
The criticism of the decision did not wait. Mats Wilander argued that too much outside influence could harm the development of young players. “Raducanu needs to have fun, she needs to be allowed to do whatever she wants next to and on the tennis court,” the seven-time Grand Slam winner told “Eurosport”. “She only has to listen to herself. We have to let these kids grow up before we try to shape them.”
American Pam Shriver, former number three in the world, predicted a difficult 2022 for Raducanu. “It was such a sudden, unnatural step from qualifying to winning a major – never done before – followed by all these new business partnerships, recognition and coaching changes. I feel like everything else has changed around them, and as a teenager goes through many changes. ”
Many advertising contracts, little success
The 19-year-old British woman Emma Raducanu
Photo: Christian Kaspar-Bartke / dpa
Both can certainly feel confirmed in their fears. Since his US Open triumph, Raducanu has signed many lucrative approval deals and completed photo shoots, but has won only 7 out of 17 matches. She never got past the third round.
And the collaboration with Beltz is already over. “He has a big heart and I enjoyed the good chemistry between us,” Raducanu added to the release announcement Tuesday (April 26, 2022). However, she wants to switch to a new coach because she feels it will be most conducive to her development.
Mouratoglu criticizes the rapid change of coaches
Rapid coach changes are common on the women’s WTA tour – and for star coach Patrick Mouratoglu one of the reasons why there is hardly continuity in the world top. “To reach a high level and be consistent there, you need consistency, every day,” Mouratoglu said in October 2020. The Frenchman has coached Serena Williams since 2012, leading her to ten Grand Slam titles. For almost three weeks he has also coached the Romanian Simona Halep, who was first on the world rankings in 2017 and right now is in 20th place there.
“You have to believe in your coach and the process,” Mouratoglu said. “You have to accept when it’s slow, but you feel it’s going in the right direction. Every time you have a new coach, he comes up with new ideas, you start over.”
Ricardo Piatti’s favorite for a coaching position
It is still unclear to what extent Beltz even had a chance to lead Raducanu to success in such a short time. After all, the now 19-year-old is going on a WTA tour for the first time ever in a whole year and was also slowed down by a corona infection. In the previous season, she had initially concentrated on her graduation certificate before delighting the British fans with her completely surprising quarter-final at Wimbledon.
By the way, she changed coach after her coup and parted ways with Nigel Sears, Ana Ivanovic’s former coach. Ricardo Piatti is now the favorite for the coaching post, the 63-year-old Italian had last worked with Jannik Sinner. Raducanu can also choose a flexible model with several sneakers for different surfaces. One thing is for sure: Raducanus’ career is still under close scrutiny.